Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: accessibility, broadband, computers, home Internet, Internet, Pew, U.S. | No Comments »
Amy Gahran has a nice breakdown as to why 1 in 5 U.S. adults don’t use the Internet.
The usual reasons are cited: age and lack of income, but there are some surprising findings. U.S. home broadband pentration dropped by four percentage points from 2010 to 2011. The recession clearly is affecting people’s abilities to get online, which may serve to deepen the recession.
Not being able to get online means that these people — often unemployed — will find it harder to find jobs and get government services. So much is done online now. When I was laid off at my last job, all of my job search was conducted online. I couldn’t imagine conducting a job search in 2012 without Internet and a computer at home.
People with disabilities are also less likely to go online and have home Internet. This tells me that too many websites are not accessible. Indeed, computers themselves still need to become more accessible.
Some nuggets from Amy’s post about those who aren’t using the Internet:
Mostly they’re older — 59% of U.S. seniors don’t go online. Also, nearly 60% of U.S. adults who never completed high school don’t use the Internet. And they’re mostly poor — nearly 40% of people with an annual household income under $30,000 don’t go online. (Pew notes that people with an annual household income under $20,000 are especially unlikely to use the Internet.)
People with disabilities also are more likely to not use the Internet. One- quarter of U.S. adults live with a disability that interferes with activities of daily life — and only 54% of these people are Internet users, Pew found.
Posted: November 10th, 2011 | Author: Patrick Thornton | Filed under: Notes | Tags: accessibility, AssistiveTouch, David Pogue, disabled people, iPhone, multitouch, usability | No Comments »
David Pogue brings up a very interesting new accessibility feature in iOS 5 that allows people with motor skill disabilities to do multitouch gestures with one finger:
One new feature, called AssistiveTouch, is Apple’s accessibility team at its most creative. When you turn on this feature in Settings->General->Accessibility, a new, white circle appears at the bottom of the screen. It stays there all the time.
When you tap it, you get a floating on-screen palette. Its buttons trigger motions and gestures on the iPhone screen without requiring hand or multiple-finger movement. All you have to be able to do is tap with a single finger — even a stylus you’re holding in your teeth or fist.
For example, you can tap the Home on-screen button instead of pressing the physical Home button.
If you tap Device, you get a sub-palette of six functions that would otherwise require you to grasp the phone or push its tiny physical buttons. There’s Rotate Screen (tap this instead of turning the phone 90 degrees), Lock Screen (tap instead of pressing the Sleep switch), Volume Up and Volume Down (tap instead of pressing the volume keys), Shake (does the same as shaking the phone to undo typing), and Mute/Unmute (tap instead of flipping the small Mute switch on the side).
If you tap Gestures, you get a peculiar palette that depicts a hand holding up two, three, four, or five fingers. When you tap the three-finger icon, for example, you get three blue circles on the screen. They move together. Drag one of them, and the phone thinks you’re dragging three fingers on its surface. Using this technique, you can operate apps that require multiple fingers dragging on the screen.
I wrote a piece awhile ago about accessibility and usability features in the iPhone and iPad and how news apps were not making good use of these features. Despite being a touchscreen based phone, the iPhone is surprisingly usable for the blind and people with other disabilities. In fact, it’s often the phone of choice for people with disabilities. It’s great to see a company think of usability beyond just what it means for the able-bodied.
Good design has at its heart good usability.